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These girlfriends have been dressing as different versions of same actors for eight years

 Friends dressing up as Ben Stiller characters
This year they honoured Ben Stiller (Picture: Paige Dall)

Seven best friends – Paige, Aida, Jamie, Lindsay, Lauren, Auburn, and Heather – are bringing the ultimate squad goals to Halloween.

By now, you might know the girl gang who dresses as an iconic actor each Halloween.

Each year they choose one star who’s had multiple famous roles and go forth and dress up.

And while it’s a minefield for most millennials to organise one night out, these friends have managed to do it each year for eight years.

Well, there was one time in 2017 where they couldn’t commit but they’ve managed to nail it every other year.

Their latest get-up is Ben Stiller and some of the shout-outs to his characters are from the likes of Starsky and Hutch, Dodgeball, and of course Zoolander.

In previous years, they’ve covered Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Will Ferrel and more.

So how is it possible to nail each costume without any clashes and how do they settle on an actor?

We spoke to the pals to find out.

Female friends pictured together
What the gang look like when they’re not in fancy dress (Picture: Paige Dall)

‘We have a spreadsheet that calculates who picked first the year prior, who picked last so that it’s fair.’ explained Heather who went as Ben Stiller’s character in Happy Gilmore this year.

‘However, everyone ends up with the character they want, and really leans into the details.

‘The best part is when we’re getting ready and one of us walks in with full costume, we all bust up laughing. There’s a lot of fake facial hair involved.’

Jamie, who went as Zoolander added: ‘Through cross-country moves (we live in four different cities), marriages, pregnancies (Lauren was eight+ months pregnant here!!), and just life, we make time for this absolutely ridiculous group costume tradition every year.

‘I love these women SO MUCH,’ she added.

Take a look at some of the brilliant costumes they’ve adorned over the years:

 Friends dressed up as Tom Hanks characters
Tom Hanks in 2018 (Picture: @concettajune)
Friends dressed as Bill Murray characters
Bill Murray in 2016 (Picture: Paige Dall)
Friends dressed as Robin Wlliams characters
Robin Williams in 2015 (Picture: Paige Dall)
Friends dressed as Will Ferrell characters
Will Ferrel in 2014 (Picture: Paige Dall)
Friends dressed as Johnny Depp characters
Johnny Depp in 2012 (Picture: Imgur/auburnkay)

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When is Diwali and what is Ramayana, the story behind the Hindu festival of lights?

Dancers celebrating Diwali in Trafalgar Square
Happy Diwali! (Picture: Rex Shutterstock)

Millions of people across the world are welcoming in the festival of Diwali, with candles, lights and fireworks set to light up the sky as part of the celebrations.

The festival is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, coinciding also with the Hindu New Year – and has a rich history attached to it.

But just what’s the festival behind the story – and when does the festival start?

Here’s what you need to know…

When is Diwali 2019?

The festival this year begins today, Sunday 27 October – and lasts for five days.

The start of the festival coincides with the new moon on the Hindu lunar calendar, called Amavasaya.

What’s the meaning behind the festival and why is it called the festival of lights?

People lighting candles for Diwali in India
Candles and lights are a major part of the festival (Picture: Getty Images)

The festival marks the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil – with the significance of lights showing light over darkness and belief that good will always triumph over evil.

The night before Diwali is known as Narak Chaturdasi, and symbolises the day in which the Hindu demon Narakaasura died.

Hindu God Lord Rama and his wife Sita returned to their kingdom in northern India after being exiled following the defeat of demon king, Ravanna – as told in the Diwali story, Ramayana?

What is the Diwali story, Ramayana, about?

People celebrating Diwali in a temple in London
The use of lights is explained in the Diwali story, Ramayana (Picture: Getty Images)

Lord Rama is the main focus of the Ramayana, with the Hindu god leaving his kingdom to live in exile for 14 years.

While in exile his wife Sita was kidnapped by the demon king, Ravana (who was the king of Lanka – or Sri Lanka as it’s now known).

Rama, who travelled with his brother Laxman, fought for Sita and rescued her from Ravana’s clutches after defeating him.

The story tells how Ravana’s sister Shoorpnakha – who was very proud of her beauty – was attracted by Laxman after passing by a forest hut where he, Lord Rama and Sita were living.

She asked Laxman to marry her but he refused her proposal and cut her nose by his sword to teach her a lesson for her arrogance.

Dancers celebrating Diwali in Trafalgar Square
The festival also coincides with the Hindu New Year (Picture: Rex Shutterstock)

Shoorpnakha subsequently went to  Ravana and told him the whole incident and asked him to exact revenge on them.

Ravana sent demons to spy on them, however the spies informed that there was a very beautiful lady called Sita – whose beauty caught Ravana’s eye.

He wanted to marry her, and one day sent a demon which changed into a beautiful golden deer who passed by their hut catching Sita’s sight.

Sita asked Rama and Laxman to catch that golden deer for her, but it turned out to be a ploy to distract the brothers, and subsequently, the demon captured Sita.

Sita used her intelligence to leave a trail of jewellery so that the brothers could find her – and aided by Lord Rama’s trusted ally Lord Hanuman – they built a bridge famously known as Ram Setu (Adam’s Bridge) to cross the island to find Sita.

When the bridge was completed, they fought a battle with King Ravan and his allies, Kumbhkaran and Vibhishana.

The trio were killed in the clash and Lord Rama freed Sita from the prison of Demon Ravana.

Diwali marks the day that Rama triumphantly returns to the kingdom of Ayodhya with his wife – with the story saying that the villagers welcomed their triumphant return home with thousands of glowing oil lamps on a moonless night.

This is why candles, lamps and other forms of light are so widely used to mark the festival.

MORE: Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas look loved-up while celebrating Diwali in Cabo

Happy Diwali 2019! A look at the best greetings, wishes and memes

people celebrating diwali in london
People are joining in with the festivities online too (Picture: Rex Features)

The festival of lights is lighting up social media.

As Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world kick off Diwali celebrations, people have taken to social media to share heartfelt wishes, greetings and, of course, memes – with Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar breaking his four-month silence to join in.

Here’s a round-up of what social media users and celebs are sharing for Diwali 2019.

Celebrities wishing a Happy Diwali

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is just one of the many public figures sharing his Diwali wishes online.

Jeremy Corbyn, Arsenal FC and Boris Johnson have also posted messages of support and celebration.

Sadiq Khan twitter diwali snip
(Picture: Twitter)


Arsenal FC diwali twitter
(Picture: Twitter)
Jeremy Corbyn Twitter Diwali snip
(Picture: Twitter)
Boris Johnson Twitter Diwali snip
(Picture: Twitter)

Diwali memes

Of course, this being the generation of social media and memes, it wasn’t long until those taking part in celebrations started to poke fun at some of the quirks.

diwali meme on twitter
(Picture: Twitter)
Diwali meme on twitter
(Picture: Quora)

A big message for this year’s Diwali was to try and limit how many firecrackers are lit, in a bid to make the festival more environmentally-friendly.

Diwali meme on twitter
(Picture: Twitter)
diwali star trek meme
(Picture: quora)

MORE: What is Diwali and what to say to someone celebrating the festival?

MORE: The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar breaks social media silence after four months to celebrate Diwali

A live immersive Monopoly experience is coming to the UK next year

A monopoly board
Take your board game to the next level (Picture: Getty)

Playing board games for a lazy afternoon at home sounds like the perfect Sunday.

But next year, you might be able to play one game in a much more active way.

A real life immersive Monopoly experience is coming to London next year.

The idea is that you’ll have to complete challenges with your team members to move around the board and buy property.

The details for the event are still being kept secret but makers of the game Hasbro has teamed up with production company Selladoor to create the experience.

All they’ve said so far is that it will open at a secret location in London some time in 2020, so keep an eye out

David Hutchinson, chief executive officer, Selladoor Worldwide said: ‘We’ve been working for over a year with Hasbro on this exciting partnership, developing our concept and vision to bring one of the world’s biggest board game brands to life in this thrilling experiential theater landscape

‘Trends in our sector are moving in a very exciting direction with demand from a new generation of theatre-goers looking to experience live theater differently and to be immersed in the world of the narrative in a different way.

‘I couldn’t think of a better organization to partner within this growing market, than the company who have brought together family and friends for decades to play some of their iconic games.’

The brands hope to role out other experiences over the next few years. Live Cluedo anyone?

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These are the ‘sexiest’ cities in the world, according to new research

Miami and Paris images
The two sexiest cities (Picture: Getty)

If you’re looking to book your next holiday with your partner but are unsure where to go, fear not, the ‘sexiest’ cities in the world have been announced.

A survey carried out by Big 7 Travel just crowned Miami as the world’s sexiest city.

The international travel company used data from across the globe to come up with the shortlist, incorporating areas which have the highest levels of sexual activity, those which make the most ‘sexual searches’ online and the best cities for single people.

It also included nationalities perceived to be the ‘sexiest’, the high number of ‘romantic’ restaurants and data from which cities their readers deemed the ‘sexiest’.

All of these elements were compiled to form the top ten list.

Miami beach
Miami ranked first (Picture: Getty)

Miami took the top spot – but not for its beaches. The data suggested the city’s ‘vibrant nightlife’ and ‘rich party culture’ were the reasons behind its ranking.

Unsurprisingly, Paris scooped second place. It’s cuisine, wine, and views made it one of the most romantic cities to visit.

Denver in the US state of Colorado followed behind at third place. Whereas Copenhagen placed fourth, thanks to Big 7 Travel’s readers ranking Danish as the second sexiest nationality in the world.

Copenhagen river
Copenhagen also made it into the top five (Picture: Getty)

Cape Town took fifth place, due to research showing that South Africans ranked third globally for the highest number of Google searches for sex toys.

Zurich in Switzerland came in sixth, while Cap d’Agde in France placed seventh.

Eighth position was taken by Dublin – due to data showing that the Irish accent ranked as one of the world’s sexiest.

The final two spots went to Liverpool and LA at ninth and tenth place, respectively.

Ten 'sexiest' cities, according to new research

1. Miami

2. Paris

3. Denver

4. Copenhagen

5. Cape Town

6. Zurich

7. Cap d’Agde

8. Dublin

9. Liverpool

10. LA

MORE: Living in cities is as bad as smoking 20 cigarettes a day

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Pregnant mum on meat-only diet says she’d worry if children ever became vegetarian

Pregnant woman showing off bump
This pregnant woman says a meat-only diet has transformed her life (Picture: MDWfeatures / @simply_sara21)

A pregnant woman who was always tired, hungry, and moody developed acne and joint pain after becoming a mother. So the mum-of-three decided to change her diet, opting for an unconventional meat-only diet.

Stay at home mum and former nurse, Sara Zielke from Wisconsin, felt that she was no longer herself, struggling to lose weight from her tummy area despite eating healthily and exercising.

After some research, the carnivore diet seemed to fit her needs as she could eat as much as she liked until she felt full and still lose weight.

Now, 17-weeks pregnant with her third child, Sara says she feels better than ever with more energy than when she had her two previous children.

Despite criticism from others about her huge meat consumption, Sara loves her lifestyle and wants her children to follow suit.

She claims to have reaped so many benefits from eating in this way that she admits she would be ‘concerned’ if her children decided to go vegetarian.

Aa part of a strict carnivore diet, people will only eat beef, salt, and water or there is a more relaxed approach, which is what Sara follows.

This is where you can eat a variety of meats, spices, and animal products such as eggs and dairy.

Woman in gym gear looking at mirror
Sara says she started to notice her abs returning after going carnivore (Picture: MDWfeatures / @simply_sara21)

Sara explained: ‘I have always had a huge appetite and hearing stories of others eating this way, getting to eat as much meat as they wanted and still losing weight and seeing so many health benefits; that was very enticing to me.

‘The benefits that I personally have experienced is a satiated appetite, amazing body composition, cleared up and brighter skin, calmer mood, greatly improved energy levels, and absolutely no pain in my body.

‘I honestly think that my quality of life would be greatly diminished if I was not eating this way.

‘I never imagined that it was possible to feel this good and for that reason, I think I will always eat this way.’

 Homemade pork belly fat nuggets.
Homemade pork belly fat nuggets she snacks on (Picture: MDWfeatures / @simply_sara21)

Sara, who occasionally snacks on one not-meat item, nuts, says she has more energy with her third child than the other two.

‘I truly believe that eating large amounts of meat is truly making me feel my best and so I have nothing but high expectations for how I’m going to feel, as a continue through the rest of this pregnancy.

‘I just eat a wide variety of meats because I love food and I love how it tastes and it makes me feel really good.’

The main meats are beef or chicken. Sara says she gets her prenatal vitamin and iron from chicken liver.

 Sara's favourite meal of steak with garlic butter prawns.
Sara’s favourite meal of steak with garlic butter prawns (Picture: MDWfeatures / @simply_sara21)

‘If my children decided to go vegetarian, I would be a little concerned, knowing what I know now about food,’ she added.

‘I feel confident though that they would soon realise that eating heavy amounts of vegetables with little or no meat would soon make them not feel very well.

Diet during pregnancy

Though Sara claims to have reaped many benefits of a meat-only diet, it’s important to note what the NHS recommends for pregnant mums.

According to the website, you should eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need.

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables because these provide vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, which helps digestion and can help prevent constipation.

‘We as a family, currently eat a very meat-heavy diet and my children are thriving.

‘Sometimes experiencing different types of food and how they make our bodies feel is the best sort of education and so I feel like my kids will have some solid ground to start and fall back on when they feel the need to experiment with their diet.’

A typical day of food for Sara looks like three or four eggs for breakfast with cheese or steak, a pound of beef or two to three pounds of chicken or pork for lunch.

She will eat dinner if she is hungry but otherwise skip this meal. Throughout the day, Sara snacks on pork scratchings and sparkling water.

Her favourite meat to eat is steak as it leaves her feeling fuller for longer. The toughest part of beginning the diet was giving up sweets.

‘We are told that these are harmful to our health when in all reality that is so far from the truth. But don’t take my word for it. Research it all for yourself,’ she advised.

Sara, who doesn’t usually set aside time for exercise, says she also enjoys chicken heart and wants to try beef tongue and brain in future.

MORE: Woman claims she has transformed her body and mind with a meat only diet – but is it safe?

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Husband shares five things he does to help his wife that he wishes he knew sooner

Dad with wife and baby
This dad had some useful words of advice for other dads (Picture: Ted Gonder/Facebook)

Parenting is pretty much a learn-on-the-job kind of gig. You can read up on it as much as you want or talk to people but it might not prepare you for everything.

So one dad-of-three wrote to his past self about the things he ought to know.

Ted Gonder from Chicago, Illinois, wrote an open letter to his 24-year-old childless self about how to be a supportive partner during the ‘becoming parents’ phase.

The post immediately went viral, racking up 70,000 likes.

While past Ted won’t benefit from the wealth of knowledge, other partners were able to take heed of the words of advice and tagged one another in the comments.

Point number one on Ted’s list read: ‘Wifey carried baby IN her belly for nine months. So you carry baby ON your belly for nine months every chance you get.

‘Not only does it help her recover but it bonds you to your kid more than imaginable.’

METROGRAB - Dad lists five things he would tell his 24yo childless self From @Ted Gonder/Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tedgonder
‘You carry baby ON your belly for nine months’  (Picture: Ted Gonder/Facebook)

He continued: ‘Wifey is breastfeeding and – while beautiful and fulfilling for her – it’s exhausting. So you change EVERY diaper you can. From diaper #1 onward.

‘You will get over the grossness fast. And you will prevent imbalances and resentment in the relationship; in fact, when all your wife’s friends are complaining about how absent and unsupportive their husbands are, your wife will be bragging about you.’

Ted added that it’s also important to bring her decaffeinated coffee in the morning as she may be tired from a lack of sleep and will need something to perk her up.

thumbnail for post ID 10992773Noah Centineo confirms relationship with Alexis Ren as they make red carpet debut

He also acknowledged that pregnancy is a precarious time and may leave the mum with body image issues.

His advice went on: ‘Tell her she is beautiful and help her see that in the moments when she is feeling most self-critical and hopeless about her body.

‘Remind her of times when she achieved goals in the past. Remind her she is a superhero. She literally just moved all her organs around and gained 20 kilograms to give you a child that will be a gift to you for the rest of your life.

‘Help her see past her body image issues and stay focused on a positive goal, one day at a time.’

The sweet letter to other dads resonated with many as Ted encouraged them to share it among themselves.

‘Remember your job is to be her rock through all of this,’ he reminded them. ‘So toughen up and keep perspective when her tongue is sharper than you know her best self intends.

‘Normal will return soon and you want her to be grateful that you kept it together when she wasn’t, not resentful and disappointed that you hijacked her emotions by making her problems yours.’

Let’s hope other dads are taking note.

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Woman who thought chronic illness had ruined her dreams of doing ballet now teaches dance from her wheelchair

Kate dancing in her wheelchair
Kate says the world of dance needs to become much more accessible (Picture: Hannah Todd Photography)

Ever since she was eight years old, Kate Stanforth wanted to be a professional ballet dancer.

She would train for hours before school, after school and at weekends. Dance was a huge part of her life.

But one morning, when she was 14, she woke up and felt so unwell, she could barely move.

Kate quickly deteriorated and was eventually diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

Eventually, Kate started to use a wheelchair and she thought she would have to leave the world of dancing behind.

But now, age 25, Kate has built up the strength and is now teaching ballet from her wheelchair.

Kate, from Northumberland, says that although she has a huge amount of experience in practising and teaching ballet, the world of dance is inaccessible and she faces a lot of judgement.

Kate competing in a dance competition when she was younger
Kate started ballet dancing when she was younger (Picture: Kate Stanforth)

She explains: ‘It is quite a judgemental industry anyway but when you are a disabled dance teacher, people immediately judge you 10 times more.

‘People think that because I’m in a wheelchair or because I’ve got my walking stick that day that I’m not capable but I know that I’m a really good teacher.’

Kate fell in love with dance as a child and she was already committed to becoming a professional before she even left primary school.

She explains: ‘It was a huge part of my life. I would get up early and train and then do more after school and on weekends.

‘Then basically overnight, I had to give it all up.’

Kate sitting in front of lots of coloured balloons
Kate also raises awareness of chronic illness (Picture: Kate Stanforth)

The first signs of M.E. appeared suddenly, and initially, Kate and her family thought that she would get better.

‘I woke up one morning and I had to crawl up the stairs. I just didn’t have the energy to walk up them. I couldn’t do anything. I was so exhausted.’

Kate and her family couldn’t understand what had happened and spent years going back and forth to doctors, eventually leading to her diagnosis of M.E.

Although she now had a name for her condition, there were few treatment options and she continued to get worse.

Kate sitting in her wheelchair
Kate is now teaching dance from her wheelchair (Picture: Hannah Todd)Photography

‘I just seemed to deteriorate. I started using a wheelchair, then became bed-bound and at one point I had paralysis,’ she explains.

‘I didn’t even have the energy to think about dance any more. Sometimes I would bump into someone from dancing and it was extremely difficult thinking I couldn’t do that anymore.’

Kate hoped that her condition would improve and she would one day be able to dance again but a few years after her first diagnosis, she was also told she had Ehlers-Danos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder.

‘At that stage, I realised it wasn’t going to get better and my dance career was over. I was never going to be a professional dancer.’

But over time, Kate slowly started to build her strength up and was able to walk a little.

Kate Stanforth sitting in front of signs saying II can' and 'I will'
Kate blogs about her condition (Picture: Kate Stanforth)

She decided once again to return to the world of dance, working as a professional teacher.

She managed to secure a teaching assistant job and completed her teachers associate exam.

Kate says: ‘Just doing the exam was difficult for me because it is about an hour and a half long.

‘I had to build my strength up to do it. It took me about a year and then I was able to start teaching. I had a health relapse and had to pause it but now I’m back teaching from my wheelchair and I’m also trying to do a little bit of dance myself.’

She now teaches one class a week for about 45 minutes but says that she does feel like disabled people are treated differently in the dance industry.


She explains: ‘I got most of my jobs through people who knew me and word of mouth. I’ve applied for lots of dance teaching jobs and never even heard back. I have all the qualifications but I think people immediately judge you on your disability.

‘Accessibility in dance needs to improve. There needs to be more opportunities – there are hardly any disabled dance classes and it’s so hard to find wheelchair-accessible studios with accessible toilets and changing rooms.

‘There’s also not a lot of representation for disabled people in dance. I think we need to start showing disabled people in dance and representing everyone.’

Kate standing up doing ballet
Kate wants to see more help available for disabled people who want to dance (Picture: Hannah Todd Photography)

Kate adds that she thinks more widespread views about disability make people frightened to get involved in dance.

‘People are scared to dance or to show that they’re doing anything physical because it might seem like because they can do a dance class, they are lying about the benefits they need.

‘People need to be encouraged to be active though because it can really help to build strength and can have a positive impact.’

Kate also says there isn’t enough access to wheelchairs that people can use for sports and many people, including Kate, have to fund them themselves.

She says: ‘There just isn’t enough equipment available and it’s a massive barrier for disabled people to be able to do sport.

‘It’s such a shame because I know so many people who want to dance and be active. Every time I put something up on Twitter, I get so many messages from people wanting to dance but it is difficult.’

You can follow Kate’s story on her blog, on Twitter or Instagram.

MORE: You Don’t Look Sick: ‘You might think I look better but I still feel horrible every day’

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Pumpkin waste: What to do with leftover pumpkin this Halloween

Man in pumpkin field
‘I think we’re gonna need a bigger food processor’ (Picture: SWNS)

Spooky season is upon us once more.

Halloween brings with it so many delights – nights in watching horror films, trick or treat sweets and celebrities coming out as a couple, apparently.

Once the vampires are tucked away back in their coffins and the walking dead go back underground, what do you do with all that leftover pumpkin?

Roast pumpkin seeds

One of the easiest things to do with your leftover pumpkin bits after carving your squashy masterpiece is to snack on the seeds you scooped out.

Rinse away any of the stringy pulp and toss the seeds straight into a baking tray. You can season them however you like – why not experiment if you have plenty left over?

Pumpkin seeds go great with most seasonings – like chilli, cinnamon, garlic, rosemary or plain old salt and pepper.

Once they’re seasoned and in the oven, bake them for around 10 minutes and you’ve got a great little snack.

Pumpkin juice

In the hierarchy of juices, pumpkin likely isn’t high on anyone’s list – but waste not, want not as the saying goes.

The drink of choice for Hogwarts students, why not take your leftover pumpkins and whip up a batch of fresh pumpkin juice?

It could make a great alternative to less-healthy fizzy drinks and it could make a great addition to a be-witch-ing Harry Potter themed party.

Pumpkin pie

There’s nothing like the warmth of a well-used kitchen in autumn, so crank up the oven and whip up a homemade pie.

Try out this easy-to-follow BBC recipe if you’re after a slice of pumpkin pie.

Make a puree

Cut the leftover pumpkin into quarters and cut into chunks.

Place in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil.

Cook until pumpkin is tender.

pumpkin soup and pumpkin seeds
A versatile food (Pictures: Joe Woodhouse/Getty)

Once it’s cooled, pop it in a food processor or mash it with a masher.

Once pureed and kept in a suitable container, it can be kept in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to six months.

You can add pumpkin puree to your yoghurt, porridge or sauces.

Make a pumpkin face mask

You don’t have to eat your leftovers – why not try a homemade face mask?

model with pumpkin face mask
If it’s good enough for a model on Lorraine… (Picture: Rex Features)

Pumpkin hair mask

Pumpkin in your hair has been said to help promote growth and helps with deep conditioning.

How to make a pumpkin hair mask

You’ll need:

½ cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree

¼ cup of natural plain yogurt

2 tablespoons of honey


Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Apply the mask through your entire hair (all the way from the roots to your tips.) Put on a shower cap and leave on for about 30 minutes. Rinse off well and towel dry.

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Boots responds to fears that traditional Christmas 3 for 2 offer is cancelled

Boots 3 for 2 message
The message on the Boots website (Picture: Boots UK)

There’s some things that are just Christmas traditions – carols, turkey, crackers, oh and the Boots Christmas 3 for 2 offer.

Yes, every year since we can remember, Boots has offered three Christmas gifts for the price of two, meaning you can grab something extra for your gran or just get a little reward for yourself every time you manage to buy gifts for someone else.

But shoppers feared that this year, the offer wouldn’t happen.

A post on the Boots website said that this year they would offer 25% off instead as they said they had decided to ‘shake things up’.

Fans of the store took to Twitter in protest.

Gemma said: ‘Boots aren’t running their 3 for 2 offer this year??? There’ll be no stocking fillers this year then, I’ll tell the family.’

Georgia added: ‘Boots scrapping their 3 for 2 Christmas offer means I’m not doing Christmas presents this year.’

But don’t fear, replying to some of the concerns, Boots customer service said that there would be some 3 for 2 offers in the build up to the festive season.

They said: ‘Expect to see either 3 for 2 or save 25% off and other discount offers go live on amazing giftsets and toys in the run up to Christmas, and don’t forget our unmissable Big Deals which are available until stocks last.’

So if you’re planning your Christmas shopping, it might be worth waiting a little longer to shop at Boots to check out the full range of deals in place.

But if you just want one thing, it’s worth checking the 25% offers. There’s already large Yankee Candles with £6 off plus over 1,000 other Christmas gifts that are already reduced.

MORE: Pumpkin waste: What to do with leftover pumpkin this Halloween

MORE: Woman who thought chronic illness had ruined her dreams of doing ballet now teaches dance from her wheelchair

Woman wears hidden camera on cleavage while walking to raise awareness for breast cancer


A woman whose mum had breast cancer twice wanted to do something to get people to detect it early.

Whitney Zelig, 29, from New York didn’t want to just preach about the importance of it so the PR worker devised a plan with her brother to grab attention.

Concocting a social experiment, Whitney implanted a hidden camera on her top with a revealing cleavage to capture how often people stare.

In the video, many men and women can be seen glancing at her breasts as she walks around the city.

She wanted to remind viewers how sexualised breasts are and that while the world is busy checking them out, women should check their own chest too.

Whitney, who felt ‘vulnerable’ making the video said it was worth it if it encourages at least one person to go in for a mammogram.

Woman wears hidden camera in her cleavage and clocks 30 people checking her out for breast cancer awareness
(Picture: YouTube / Chris Zelig)

‘I’m happy I did it because of the positive feedback,’ she told The Mirror.

‘I thought it was hilarious. Humour is one of my favourite things and if we can use humour to raise awareness I’m all for it.

‘If one woman is inspired to check herself or get a mammogram from this video I will be happy.

‘I’m doing it for a bigger cause. This is bigger than the video or me, this is about our mums, grandmothers, children, sisters and friends.’

For Chris, it’s not the first social experiment of this type to raise awareness for cancer. He and pal CJ Koegel created a similar viral clip in 2014 to raise money for prostate cancer.

Chris and Whitney’s mum has had breast cancer twice but has now got the all-clear from her ten-year check-up.

Here is more information on booking a breast cancer screening.

MORE: One of UK’s youngest terminal breast cancer patients has beautiful ‘bucket list’ wedding

MORE: Is having itchy boobs a sign of breast cancer?

MORE: Mum’s breast cancer spotted by museum’s thermal imaging camera

Man gets down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend – but accidentally trips up a little girl


Ben Gilbert had planned a beautiful proposal for his girlfriend Ali Myers.

But just as she was about to agree to be his wife, it was another girl who fell head over heels.

As he stretched out his leg to get down on one knee, he tripped up a little girl with her arms full of pumpkins.

Luckily she wasn’t hurt and after the brief distraction, Ali said yes and agreed to marry him.

Ben’s best friend Tanner Johnson, filmed the proposal for the couple.

He said: ‘Fortunately, the little girl was OK, she was just embarrassed.

‘The mum actually got onto her for ‘ruining the moment’ once she realised what was happening.

Ali and Ben during the proposal, laughing at tripping a little girl up and after she said yes
It didn’t quite go to plan (Picture: Cater News)

‘It was a last-minute plan, as Ben got the ring back in August but has held on to it until now. He wanted to wait until she wasn’t expecting it.’

Ben and Ali got together in January after meeting on Twitter.

He decided to ask her the question on Monday when they were pumpkin shopping.

At the same moment Ben got down on one knee, the girl walked past and didn’t see his leg, causing her to topple over and spill the pumpkins.

Ben and Ali stood in disbelief before checking on her and Ben apolgised through a fit of giggles.

Turning back to Ali, she said yes and spectators cheered and shouted ‘That’s awesome’.

Congratulations Ben and Ali. Hopefully you make it down the aisle without any mishaps.

MORE: Woman wears hidden camera on cleavage while walking to raise awareness for breast cancer

MORE: Boots responds to fears that traditional Christmas 3 for 2 offer is cancelled

Mum comes up with brilliant headless ghost Halloween costume which cost nothing

Child dressed headless maid
The award-winning homemade costume (Picture: Sam Howlett)

Who said Halloween costumes have to cost lots?

A mum has proved that you can be creative, ghoulish and win fancy dress competitions with things lying around the house.

Sam Howlett, from Surrey, picked up five things she had already and got to work.

The 27-year-old mum-of-two grabbed an old dress, some acrylic paint, newspaper, a cereal box, and a paper plate to give daughter Thoeora, eight, a creepy headless look.

The final outcome was shared on Facebook page Extreme Couponing and Bargains where users lapped it up.

Sharing the details of the creepy Halloween get-up, Sam’s post went viral, amassing 14,000 likes.

It gave plenty of other parents ideas about what to create for their little kiddies.

‘She’s very excited about that!’ Sam explained to Metro.co.uk when asked about Theora’s reaction to all the online love.

The youngster’s look was so impressive, she even won the school competition.

Mum and young daughter
Sam made the outfit from five different materials (Picture: Sam Howlett)

‘I used an old dress of mine and cut a hole out of the middle for her head to go through,’ Sam explained the steps.

‘I then stuffed the arms with newspaper and the back with an old cereal box which was superglued to the inside and stuffed with newspaper.

‘I painted the box and newspaper on the top with different shades of red.

Mum and kids in the park
Little Thoera won the best costume at the school disco (Picture: Sam Howlett)

Sam continued: ‘I used a paper plate as a collar around her neck and painted blood on that too and glued the ends of the arm to the underside of the plate.

‘I cut holes in the sides for her arms when she needs to use them and she had a maxi skirt the same colour that was mine to pull up over her arms when she didn’t need to use them.’

Though it was Sam who put it altogether, it was her husband who had the idea after watching a film.

We stan a thrifty family. It gives us some ideas for what to go as this Halloween.

MORE: Easy ways to make your Halloween costume plastic-free

MORE: Mum dresses up in a different Halloween costume every day to pick kids up from school

MORE: Pumpkin waste: What to do with leftover pumpkin this Halloween

Just how chaotic is Scorpio season going to be?

Horoscope series for Platform
Scorpio season has quite the reputation (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Just the mention of Scorpio season is enough to strike fear into the hearts of astrology enthusiasts.

Known for their passion, strength and intensity, Scorpios are highly emotional. But – as to be expected – they have a deadly sting for anyone who tries to cross them.

Scorpio season, which runs from October 23 – November 22, has long been associated with a period of intenseness and having the potential for darkness.

Astrologer Daniela Ruby Fischer says: ‘During Scorpio season we all get a taste of this intense energy regardless of our individual sign.

‘The emotions that are stirred make us look more closely and question the meaning of everything. It is the season where we all dig for deeper truths and are more often than not confronted with our shadow, the part of us we usually avoid.’

But just how chaotic will the next month be? And does it have to be so?

Well, in many ways, there’s good news and bad news.

Scorpios often go to extreme lengths to uncover the truth. So the next month is expected to be a time of discovery and personal development across all the zodiac signs. Which seems pretty positive.

Daniela says: ‘Communication will feel like coded riddles but Scorpio being the born detective can help us decode it.

‘Be prepared as you may uncover things that make you uncomfortable.

‘This can however translate into jealousy and suspicion, so it’s important to be wary.’

She adds: ‘Stay away from your partner’s phone and social media accounts, focus on yourself.

‘A little jealousy may be healthy and normal when acknowledged but paranoia can ruin a relationship. Trust your gut but don’t sabotage yourself.’

But if that wasn’t enough for one month, Mercury is in retrograde during Scorpio season, which is set to make this period even more intense. Mercury in retrograde is known for bringing disruption and causing breakdowns of communication.

Astrologer Francesca Oddie says, ‘Mercury in retrograde often indicates confusion delays frustrations and miscommunication, however it doesn’t necessarily mean chaos.

‘Mercury rules transport, communication, our thoughts and the way we express ourselves.

‘When Mercury goes into retrograde, all areas of life governed by Mercury are not straightforward. However, this also offers an opportunity to do all things beginning with the letters “re”, so review, rest, reconsider, re-evaluate, resign and redo anything that needs an upgrade.’

Fittingly, the mayhem is due to start on 31 October – aka Halloween.

Everyone, no matter what star sign, should expect powerful shifts across all areas – from relationships and personal values to growth and finances.

Francesca adds: ‘Mercury retrograde in Scorpio asks us to confront our deepest and most private emotional self and it is an opportunity to explore the way we feel and respond.

‘Chaos ensues when we turn a blind eye to what we feel and focus only on what we think.

‘At the time of mercury retrograde, intuitive brain drives. Mercury will always present us with some level of entertainment.

‘It is our response to traffic jams, computers wiping themselves clean, miscommunication by email and petty arguments that sets the tone.

‘Mercury retrograde is only chaotic if we are not prepared. Before the 31st, back up your computer and leave yourself enough time between appointments made.’

But this is the last time Mercury is in retrograde this year. Phew.

MORE: Astrology isn’t a hipster fad, it helps me live my life

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MORE: I’ve been an astrologer for decades and only been wrong once

Amazon is selling Christmas tree beds for your beloved cat

Three of the different Christmas-themed beds
Feline festive (Picture: Amazon)

Santa paws is officially coming to town thanks to one online marketplace.

We all love dressing our beloved pets up at Christmas, but Amazon has just taken festive shenanigans to another level.

Forget Christmas jumpers, the retailer is selling an adorable selection of cat beds – purrrfect for full-grown moggies and kittens alike.

There are a number of types to choose from, including a Christmas tree-themed bed as well as a Santa’s hat design.

Most of the designs have igloo-like structures to ensure that cats can stay cosy and warm inside.

Christmas Tree bed
Your moggy could be this happy (Picture: Amazon)

Some also have a detachable roof, so if your cat absolutely hates enclosed spaces (which let’s be honest, he/she probably does) you can take the top off for an open-air bed.

green Christmas tree bed
So snug (Picture: Amazon)

Prices range from £9-£18 depending on the design as well as the size of the kitty, and most products come with free delivery.

red santa hat cat bed
A festive treat (Picture: Amazon)

There’s also no reason the adorable bed couldn’t be used for smaller dogs too – such as chihuahuas, pugs, shih tzus – or other pets like guinea pigs or rabbits.

Those looking to splurge a little more on their feline friend can opt for a slightly more decadent bed from Bed, Bath and Beyond.

The Holiday Tree Wool Pet Cave features a Christmas tree design with lots of colourful baubles and is priced at $79.99 (£62.30). But it looks like it is currently out of stock, due to popular demand.

Themed cat beds certainly seem to be big trend for 2019. Last month, Boots & Barkley launched a haunted house cat scratcher for just $16.99 (£14) – just in time for Halloween.

MORE: Can cats, dogs and other pets eat pumpkin seeds?

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MORE: H&M is selling matching winter jumpers for dogs and their owners

Parents love this ‘anti-nightmare’ spray and now you can make it at home

The anti nightmare mist
This could make bedtimes easier (Picture: Getty – Cuckooland)

With Halloween happening this week, your kids might be getting a little frightened and sometimes that leads to nightmares.

But one company has launched an anti-nightmare mist to try to help calm them down.

Obviously, you can’t absolutely guarantee a nightmare free sleep but the mist might be enough to help children settle if they are scared.

The mist contains essential oils like lavender to help kids relax at bedtime.

You just need to spray it on their pillow and around the room, including under the bed and in the wardrobe.

The team recommend getting your little ones to spray it with you before bedtime so they feel like they’re really tackling any monsters they think might be hiding in their room.

In a post on the website,  Lucy Russell, a child clinical psychologist explained: ‘Ninety per cent of the complaints I deal with are concerned with ‘robbers’ and this is often accompanied by the fear of being hurt. Nightmares are a normal part of child development.

‘As children start to learn about the dangers in the world, as well as what death means when they are about 8-years-old, nightmares can be the brain’s way of processing this new information.

‘Lavender is really relaxing for the senses, so this will help. I would advise to start using this spray an hour before bed, to help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, and also to initiate the release of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep.’

The product costs £4.95 but it’s proved so popular, it’s currently sold out online so the team behind it at Cuckooland has released the recipe and instructions on how to make it at home.

How to make nightmare spray

  • Grab yourself a spray bottle – something recyclable and sustainable, a glass bottle perhaps and fill with water.
  • Mix two drops of essential oil per every 100ml of water. Lavender or rose oils are good to use, given their relaxing qualities, but other essential oils can be used as well, why not experiment and find the best fit for your little ones?
  • Finally you need to decorate the bottle and add some ‘secret anti monster’ ingredients. Decorate with friendly ghosts, smiley faces and lots of bright colours.

MORE: Amazon is selling Christmas tree beds for your beloved cat

MORE: Just how chaotic is Scorpio season going to be?

Morrisons is releasing a mince pie flavour sandwich for Christmas

The Morrisons sign and the Morrisons mince pie sandwich
It’s available from today (Picture: Morrisons)

In Christmas combinations we didn’t know we needed, Morrisons has created a mince pie sandwich.

Yes, Christmas sandwich season is starting and brands are already trying to innovate to create this year’s big hit.

Morrisons’ latest offering involves a fruity panettone style bread roll, mince pie chutney, creamy cheddar cheese and crumbly Wensleydale.

That combination of sweet and savoury sounds delicious. Expect to see it alongside the traditional turkey feast Christmas sarnie.

It’s available from today 28 October until Christmas Eve and costs £3.

It is part of the Morrisons meal deal, which includes all Food to Go mains, snacks and drinks for £3.50.

Morrisons mince pie sandwich range
The mince pie sandwich (Picture: Morrisons)

Richard Jones, Food to Go Buyer at Morrisons, said: ‘We’ve upped our Christmas sarnie game this year to offer something completely new for customers.’

In terms of Christmas treats being released elsewhere, Costa revealed theirs earlier this month.

It includes a Terry’s Chocolate Orange muffin and the Pigs & Blankets Mac & Cheese.

If hot drinks are what make you feel festive, they’re adding Irish Velvet, hazelnut praline and gingerbread flavours to their coffees this year.

If coffee isn’t your thing, there’s a Black Forest flavour hot chocolate, a Christmas tea and hot spiced apple.

Eric Tavoukdjian, Commercial Marketing Director at Costa Coffee said: ‘The new Irish Velvet family is sure to be a big hit and the Terry’s Chocolate Orange Muffin will be making thousands of Chocoholics wishes come true.

‘We hope families and friends are inspired to come together and enjoy a Christmas treat in-store this season.’

Costa Coffee’s Christmas menu will be available in stores nationwide from Friday 1 November 2019.

MORE: Parents love this ‘anti-nightmare’ spray and now you can make it at home

MORE: Amazon is selling Christmas tree beds for your beloved cat

Black Labrador gives birth to one of Britain’s largest ever litters

black Labrador beau and her puppies
Black Labrador Beau gave birth to 13 puppies (Picture: SWNS)

The owners of a black Labrador were given the shock of their life when they thought their beloved dog was due to give birth to six puppies, but ended up with a litter of more than double.

Black Labrador Beau gave birth to 13 puppies – one of Britain’s largest ever litters

The pooch, who is a descendant of a Crufts champion, was just two shy of a record believed to have been set by a Labrador back in 2014.

Beau’s owner Leah Barrett safely delivered the litter with her sister Alice. But the number of pups came as quite a shock to the pair, who had been told by the vet to expect five or six following an ultrasound appointment.

Leah said: ‘The vet told us it would take about an hour for each puppy to be born.

‘We thought there could be up to eight, so roughly calculated an eight hour labour.

‘But after seven were born in just forty minutes, we were all absolutely gobsmacked. They were just flying out.’

Beau's 13 puppies together
More than a baker’s dozen (Picture: SWNS)
Beau and her puppies
Mum and her pups (Picture: SWNS)
Labrador puppies
(Picture: KMG/SWNS)

But the birth did not come without its complications.

One of the puppies became trapped in Beau’s birth canal because her placenta had come loose. Leah and Alice managed to get the puppy out after 40 minutes, but it wasn’t breathing or moving.

Leah added: ‘We were all panicking, we thought we had lost her. It took about ten to 15 minutes to get her breathing.

‘I used suction equipment to suck all the fluid out of her lungs. It’s a good job I’d done my reading on the subject, or she wouldn’t be here now.’

The family have called the puppy Hope because of the experience. She is now one of the biggest in the litter.

Puppies feeding
Beau gave birth to 13 pups (Picture: SWNS)
Beau and her family
Beau’s owners helped with the delivery  (Picture: KMG/SWNS)
Labrador puppy
Kisses (Picture: SWNS)

All of the other puppies have been named to match their own unique personalities.

The boys are called Stormy, Ziggy, Ninja, Danny Dyer, Neon, Stevie and Bear, whereas the girls have been named Hope, Violet, Penelope, Paloma Faith, Penelope and Baby Pink.

Leah said: ‘Stormy was the runt of the litter so we gave him a strong name to give him a boost.’

The family are keeping two of the puppies for themselves – Bear and Hope – but will be selling the other 11 for £950 each.

In total, they expect to receive around £10,000 for the black Labrador pups.

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Kids are dressing up as Boris Johnson for Halloween

A child dressed as Boris Johnson for Halloween, sat on front steps of a house with a pumpkin next to him carved with the word 'Brexit'
Boris is a hit for Halloween (Picture: Matt Alexander/PA)

Does Brexit give you the chills?

If so, you might want to turn off the lights and lock the doors this Thursday (31 October), as children go out for the annual trick-or-treat hunt, because there’s a big chance that a mini-Boris Johnson will be knocking on your door.

According to new research by Beano Studios, the Prime Minister ranks 10th on the list of most popular Halloween costumes among children this year.

The findings also revealed that over half of the 2,000 British parents and children surveyed are using Brexit as their inspiration, and more than 25% are going as well-known British politicians (so you’ll probably see a mini-Jeremy Corbyn out and about, too).

Brexit decorations are also popular, so don’t be surprised to see flags, pumpkins carved with slogans – or political faces – or who knows, perhaps even a miniature red bus or two.

Let’s face it, politics in 2019 is a bit scary, so this kind of makes sense.

Jack Waterson, aged 7, Presley Kempson and Jamison McCarthy, both aged 10 in London during Halloween, dressed as Boris Johnson
There are so many Boris looks to choose from (Picture: Matt Alexander/PA)

In fact, two thirds of the participants considered Boris Johnson as the ‘scariest’ celebrity, though he’s trumped by the President of the United States – the research showed that Donald Trump is the one who gives children chills down their spines.

Other popular themes included superheroes and magical beings, with Spider-Man – who nabbed the second spot – The Joker and Wonder Woman all on the list.

Don’t be surprised if you see Eleven or Dustin Henderson pottering about, too, as characters from Netflix’s hit series, Stranger Things, were among the top choices.

The number one spot, however, went to this year’s creepiest clown: Pennywise from It Chapter Two.

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Bisexual polyamorous couple say love should be like the sun and ‘radiate all directions’

Three-way couple
Darrien Leathers, and boyfriend Ryan Meyers pictured with Beth, Darrien’s other partner (Picture: SWNS)

Darrien Leathers, 23, and Ryan Meyers, 27, had a ‘spiritual marriage’ within two months of meeting on a dating app in 2018.

The couple from San Diego, California felt monogamy was too restrictive and wanted to explore other partners.

A few months later, Darrien met student Beth Sanchez, 20, on Tinder who she eventually began dating.

Ryan has met his spiritual wife’s girlfriend but doesn’t date her himself. And Beth has a boyfriend and is also in an open relationship.

The open relationship works for the trio, who are not in a throuple yet but say they may choose to be in the future.

‘A monogamous relationship can sometimes feel like I’m taking my love and shining it like a flashlight on one person,’ says Ryan.

‘In a sexually fluid relationship, your love is like a sun and it radiates in all directions.’

Darrien & Ryan. A polyamorous couple who encourage each other to have relationships with both sexes believe that their arrangement gives them the best of both worlds. See SWNS story SWNYfluid. Darrien Leathers, 23, and Ryan Meyers, 27, say that monogamy is too constrictive and call their relationship ?sexually fluid.? The couple, of San Diego, California, USA, are so open with each other that Ryan invited Darrien?s girlfriend Beth Sanchez, 20, to a surprise birthday party he threw for Darrien. The pair tied the knot just two months after meeting in a ?spiritual? ceremony in the Sequoia National Forest complete with pine cones and crystals. Ryan, said: ?A monogamous relationship can sometimes feel like I?m taking my love and shining it like a flashlight on one person. ?In a sexually fluid relationship, your love is like a sun and it radiates in all directions.? Ryan, a music producer, and Darrien, a meditation guide, met on MeetMindful, a dating app for mindful people, in September 2018. Darrien admitted that at first she was looking for a girlfriend, but Ryan?s profile was the first she saw.
Darrien (right) and Ryan got spiritually married after two months of meeting (Picture: SWNS)

Ryan, a music producer, and Darrien, a meditation guide, met on MeetMindful, a dating app for mindful people.

Darrien said: ‘I joined the app because I wanted to meet people who were into the conscious lifestyle and aware of what they ate, how they felt and the choices they were making.

‘I originally downloaded the app to talk to girls, but before I changed my preferences, Ryan’s face popped up.

‘We met shortly after. We fell in love right away. Love is limitless and we don’t have to put a lock on love.

‘He told me that he was also fluid and he had an attraction to both sexes.

‘We decided to be in an open relationship and that we were going to see each other and other people too.’

Beth & Darrien.
Darrien met Beth on Tinder (Picture: SWNS)

Moving in together after two weeks, the couple opted against a legal marriage because they didn’t want the government to define their love.

In October 2018, the pair travelled to the Sequoia National Forest in California for their wedding, changing their surnames to Seqqoÿa in honor of their ceremony.

In July, Darrien began dating Beth, a student and hairstylist, who she had met on Tinder 18 months before.

Speaking of her girlfriend Beth, Darrien said: ‘It felt like we had known each other for a long time. It’s been really cool to be able to nurture this feminine bond.’

Ryan initially had some doubts about Darrien’s relationship with Beth.

He said: ‘At first I was a little hesitant about Beth.

‘She was a relationship from the past and we were growing and releasing old patterns and creating new realities for ourselves, not just following our physical desires.

Darrien & Ryan posing together
Ryan is in one relationship only at the moment but is open to more in future (Picture: SWNS)

‘But once I met Beth I knew it was a genuine thing. It’s all love and I can feel the love and it’s great to just get more and more love.

‘I can feel jealous but I have to remember that it’s free and open love. We want to allow each other to be the best version of ourselves.’

Although Ryan says ‘doesn’t have time’ to date other people right now, he believes that in the future he will have his own girlfriend or boyfriend or become a ‘throuple’.

He continued: ‘I’m just going with the flow and whatever is meant to be, will be. It’s not something I’m pushing or forcing at all.’

Beth added: ‘I get to enjoy the best of both worlds. They are night and day.

‘There are two parts of me that feel completed. It’s possible to love more than one person.

‘Love is something that can be spread rather than just contained to one person.’

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